Scherzo Ostinato

organ solo - Alfred V. Fedak

Composer Alfred V. Fedak
Price $12 (U.S.) Released 6/14
Use General, Recital
Difficulty Moderately difficult
Catalog no. 160-865

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This exciting concert scherzo is based on a theme by Thomas Ravenscroft. The work begins quickly but quietly, with an apprehensive atmosphere. The music gains in energy and volume, building towards a dramatic conclusion. An impressive (though only moderately difficult) work for recital, or a Lenten postlude.

Scherzo Ostinato

"Alfred Fedak, a distinguished American composer of hymns and church music, is a graduate of Hope College, Montclair State University, and Westminster Choir College. He currently works as a church musician in Albany, New York. Selah has published many of his compositions, all of which are notable for their solid craftsmanship and creativity. It certainly takes a creative mind to turn Ravenscroft’s tune for “Remember, O Thou Man,” a carol generally paired with the story of “The Fall” at Lessons and Carols, into a diabolical scherzo, which is what Fedak has done. Full of energy, the work uses ostinato in a variety of ways, often through an obsession with the repeated notes with which Ravenscroft’s tune begins. The opening is marked “Moving forward, but with apprehension.” It does take the piece a while to find its momentum, but this is part of the effectiveness of the overall plan. The momentum is aided by a general crescendo throughout the piece, including specific registrations by the composer. While the majority of the composition is in E-minor, the middle section traverses through F-sharp minor, C minor, B minor and C-sharp minor in short order. In the latter part of the piece, the forward momentum is again increased through an accelerando that builds to a full E-major chord— the first true place of rest in the piece. After a breath, the work concludes with a maestoso statement of the tune and a coda in A minor that provides a stirring conclusion and a satisfying foil to the hesitant opening. ... Fedak’s original take on Remember, O Thou Man is probably more suited to a recital than a service--it seems significant that the composer doesn’t mention the text commonly associated with the tune--and is worth investigating.” –AAM Journal, November 2014

"This challenging work is based on a theme by Thomas Ravenscroft, utilizing the tune as an ostinato. Double pedaling with open fifth and twelfth intervals is incorporated into the thematic statement. Over this, Fedak weaves melismatic seventh, fourteenth, and seventeenth rhythms, traversing a number of tonalities. In keeping with the scherzo character, the music is briskly paced and articulative. An instrument with responsive key action and distinct voicing will do justice to this piece, suitable for recital or special occasion." --Cross Accent, Fall/Winter 2017


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